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Sonic Innovation: The Nike KD 17 Has Arrived

Last Updated: May 25, 2024
Kevin Durant is an artist; it just so happens his canvas is a court and his footwork the percussion. Boardroom breaks down his latest tool of the trade, the Nike KD 17.

Close your eyes, and you’ll hear the pitter-patter pounding of an inflated Wilson in an empty gym — the soft landings of one-footed hops remixed into the silent squeaking of 360 spins.

It all culminates in an ominous click as the ball gently grazes the back rim before falling straight through the net, creating no motion or even a satisfactory swish to be heard.

The conductor of this silent symphony? Kevin Durant in the Nike KD 17.

Nike KD 17
(Image courtesy of Nike)

Akin to his work on the court and the playlist in his ears, the KD 17 is a fluid mix of stylized sharpening, influenced by inspiration from past greatness and off-genre curiosity.

The finished product is a finely tuned tool capable of carrying KD through meticulous routine, Paris play, and his upcoming 17th season.

Available now, Boardroom breaks down the KD 17: basketball’s most ethereal instrument.

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Amplified Sample

Kevin Durant does not live in the past, but he’s well aware of it. A hoop historian, music maker, and art collector, KD possesses a pulse across eras and cultures like few favored talents do.

Digging into the crates, the KD 17 smartly samples the 1998 Air Max Plus — a running shoe revered by the waviest Stateside steppers and most tactile rappers in the UK.

Obscure and commercial all at once, the Tuned Air arrival inspired by palm trees on a beach brought bass to London’s grime scene and flavor to US shoppers getting fresh at Foot Locker.

Over the years, the Air Max Plus has lived many lives though seldom seen on a basketball court. By extracting the Air Max Plus’ thermoplastic veins and leaving behind its archaic cushioning, the lifeblood of the cult classic pumps through the KD 17.

It’s a studied approach to sampling amplified on recent KD favorites, from the deconstructed styling of Virgil Abloh‘s Off-White Nike Blazer informing the KD 13 to Jet Flight and Air Penny 2 language living on the KD 15 and KD 16.

In a sense, the running shoe DNA of the KD 17 speaks to the marathon Durant currently embarks on. Averaging over 36 minutes and 27 points a night at 35, endurance is a theme totem to Kevin’s career as he seeks his fourth Olympic gold medal.

The samples may suggest an old soul, but they’re still striking chords with the youth.

Born to Run

Across the NBA Playoffs, multiple members of each illustrious roster have relied on the Nike KD line to make meaningful plays during winning time.

Towering, fluid, and forceful, Chet Holmgren strokes stepbacks and blocks shots in the Nike KD 17. Poised and positionless, Derrick Jones Jr. throws down lobs and presses full-court in OG pairs of the Nike KD 4 and Nike KD 6.

To today’s talent, Kevin Durant’s poetic play and the finely tuned design of his signature series speak to players of all origins and styles for various reasons. Like a multifaceted musician, each era of the Nike KD series expresses what was shaping Kevin’s craft.

Now on his 17th signature — the same model number Michael Jordan made famous when taking his talents to DC and riffing off his love of jazz — Durant’s studied approach to play and design is touted, tested, and trusted.

Informed by the past and inspired by the future, the KD 17 is the latest chapter on a remarkable run.

The Nike KD 17, tuned to the exact specifications of Kevin Durant during countless hours of silent shotmaking, is available now at Nike.

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Ian Stonebrook

Ian Stonebrook is a Staff Writer covering culture, sports, and fashion for Boardroom. Prior to signing on, Ian spent a decade at Nice Kicks as a writer and editor. Over the course of his career, he's been published by the likes of Complex, Jordan Brand, GOAT, Cali BBQ Media, SoleSavy, and 19Nine. Ian spends all his free time hooping and he's heard on multiple occasions that Drake and Nas have read his work, so that's pretty tight.

About The Author
Ian Stonebrook
Ian Stonebrook
Ian Stonebrook is a Staff Writer covering culture, sports, and fashion for Boardroom. Prior to signing on, Ian spent a decade at Nice Kicks as a writer and editor. Over the course of his career, he's been published by the likes of Complex, Jordan Brand, GOAT, Cali BBQ Media, SoleSavy, and 19Nine. Ian spends all his free time hooping and he's heard on multiple occasions that Drake and Nas have read his work, so that's pretty tight.